- Introduced -

SB 726 - This act establishes collective bargaining for public school teachers, known as the "Public School Employment Relations Act".

The State Board of Mediation shall administer the act. Public school teachers have the right to form and join employee organizations for the purpose of negotiations. Membership is not required. Each organization seeking to represent public school employees shall be afforded equal access to teachers.

The employer and the representative shall meet reasonably within advance of the budget process. They shall negotiate in good faith.

To refuse to negotiate in good faith or to engage in a strike or a lock out is prohibited. Either the employer or the teacher's representative shall file a complaint alleging a violation of good faith negotiations within 90 days. The accused party shall have 10 days to respond. The Board of Mediation may conduct a preliminary hearing. The Board shall designate a hearing officer whose decisions may be appealed to the Board.

Any party aggrieved by the Board's decisions to appeal to the circuit court of the county in which the hearing was held. A decision of the Board may be modified, set aside or reversed if the Board acts in excess of its powers, for fraud, if the facts do not support the order or for lack of substantial evidence to support the order. The circuit court may remand the case to the Board or it may decide. An appeal may be made to a district court.

The employer or employees may petition the Board for an appropriate negotiating unit. The Board will conduct a public hearing. The Board shall consider factors such as the community, the geographic location and the history of public school employee organizations.

The Board shall certify a negotiating unit when petitioned by the employer or employees. The petition of the employees shall allege that the organization has requested negotiations and at least 30 percent of the teachers want the organization to represent them. The employer's petition must allege that it received a request to negotiate from an employee organization which has not been certified as the representative of the employees. The Board may certify a representative organization if the petitioner can document more than 50 percent of the employees as members.

The Board shall investigate the allegations of any petition. The Board shall call an election unless it finds less than 30 percent of the employees are members, more than 50 percent are members or the appropriate negotiating unit has not been determined.

The election shall contain two questions:

(1) The employees may vote for representation; and

(2) A list of any employee unit wishing to represent the teachers as negotiator.

The choice must receive a majority to win. The Board may invalidate the election results if it determines circumstances warrant that action.

The certified negotiating unit is obligated to represent the employees in negotiations.

The employee organization shall represent all employees fairly regardless of membership. Nothing shall prevent the employer from giving access to individuals or groups of employees. This act provides for four-year collective bargaining agreements in writing.

In the case of an impasse, mediation and binding arbitration measures are provided.

An employee organization or a public school employer may be sued. Individuals are not liable personally.

Strikes are unlawful. An employee engaged in a strike shall forfeit twice the amount of a day's pay for each day he engaged in a strike.

Certain public school employees are excluded from this act, including members on any governing board, public school employer representatives in managerial or administrative positions and confidential employees.